Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Cupcake Contest

When cake mixes were first introduced in the 1940s, they failed because women (yes, women – men did not cook in the home then, or shop for groceries) wanted to feel more a part of the process. Betty Crocker, the cake mix innovator, removed ingredients like eggs and oil, which then needed to be added back in – and women could take ownership of their cakes again.

Now, bakers are taking cake mixes and adding even more interesting twists. I attended the Duncan Hines Red Carpet Cupcake Challenge, where 10 female finalists (yes, all the finalists were women – odd how things haven’t changed much) presented their cupcakes, all riffs on cake mixes.

The winning recipe, by Katie Rousonelos of Madison, WI, was Red Carpet Glamour. You may not look down on cakes using mixes again.

Cupcake Batter

1 pkg Duncan Hines® Red Velvet Cake Mix

1 1/4 cup water

1/3 cup vegetable oil

3 large eggs

3 tsp Raspberry flavoring

1/2 c Sour Cream

Chocolate Ganache Filling

4 oz bittersweet chocolate

1/2 c heavy cream

1 tbs confectioner sugar

Vanilla Bean Frosting

1 Container Duncan Hines Buttercream Frosting

1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise and insides scraped out

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz. Cream Cheese

1. Add the ingredients for filling in a medium microwave safe bowl. Heat until mixture is warm (20-30 seconds on high) Whisk until smooth, put in refrigerator to stand until just chilled, no longer than 30 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease muffin pans or line with paper baking cups.

3. Blend dry mix, water, oil and eggs in large bowl at low speed until moistened (about 30 seconds). Then add sour cream and raspberry flavoring. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Spoon batter into muffin pan or paper cups.

4. Place one rounded teaspoon of filling on the top of each cupcake.

5. Bake cupcakes for 19-22 minutes. Add 3-5 minutes to bake time for dark or coated pans. Cupcakes are done when toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

6. Cool in pan on wire rack for 15 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.

7. To make the frosting, add the canned frosting, cream cheese, vanilla bean, and vanilla extract together. Beat until mixed, about 1 minute.

Refrigerate filling for 30 minutes. Frost and decorate cupcakes as desired.